A 35-year-old Rapid City man was shot and killed by a police officer late last night during a struggle that began after the man was stopped for illegal operation of an ATV in the west-central part of town.
Harold Murphy was stopped by police around 11:30 last night for driving an ATV without lights on west Main Street, near the South Dakota National Guard camp. Police say he pulled into the parking lot of the Clock Tower Gardens apartment complex, but then took off on foot.
"The suspect attempted to run from the officer, and a second officer who was on scene pursued him a short distance," Interim Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris said. "As the second officer tackled the suspect, the suspect began firing a handgun the suspect had in his possession."
Jegeris says that as Officer Lucas Lang wrestled with Murphy for the gun, Officer Jerrell Lewellen shot Murphy at close range. He died at the scene.
"This was a very disturbing and violent incident, and we are very thankful that our officers are safe and that they were able to keep the community safe," Jegeris said. "Uh, there is no doubt in my mind that this subject intended to do whatever he could to flee our officers, including attempting to kill a Rapid City police officer."
Jegeris said Murphy had a history of criminal behavior, including aggravated assault, and posed a clear threat to the officers,
"The end result today was unfortunate that he died at the scene,"Jegeris said. "However I'm extremely grateful that our officers were not injured."
Officers Lang and Lewellen have been placed on paid administrative leave until they are ready to resume their duties.
The state Division of Criminal Investigation is reviewing the shooting and will issue a case report in about a month. The report will also be reviewed by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office, the Pennington County State's Attorney Office and Rapid City police.